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Poor Performance in Premiere Pro CC 2018 (Ver. 12.1.X) with ProRes footage

Written on May 1, 2018 by Matt Bach

What is the issue?

In a recent round of benchmarking for Premiere Pro, we noticed that we were seeing lower performance with ProRes footage than we expected. Specifically, with our current benchmark configurations using the X299 platform, we are seeing up to 35% longer export times and up to a 30% drop in live playback performance with both ProRes 422 HQ and ProRes 4444 footage. It is currently unknown if this issue is limited to the X299 platform with Intel Core i9 CPUs (which is what we typically offer for Premiere Pro users) or if it is a more widespread issue.

After going through a whole host of other troubleshooting steps, we have determined that the issue is specific to the 12.1.0 and 12.1.1 versions of Premiere Pro 2018 that was launched in April of 2018. There is an note in the list of bug fixes stating "Some mov files do not use the native libraries" but it is unclear if this is specifically what is causing the issue.

This had been reported to Adobe, but you can vote on our report and let Adobe know your own comments [here].


The easiest (and only solution we currently know of) is to roll back to version 12.0.1 of Premiere Pro 2018. Be aware that if you have any projects that were upgraded or created in version 12.1 or newer, you will not be able to open them after you have rolled back to version 12.0.1. You will need to create new projects from scratch (or start from projects made before the 12.1.0 update), so even if you are experiencing this issue you may want to wait until you complete any current project.

You can install the 12.0.1 version of Premiere Pro through the Creative Cloud app. Simply click on the down arrow next to "Open", select "Other Versions", then click the install link next to "12.0.1".

Premiere Pro Install Previous Version

If you require any assistance with your Puget Systems Workstation, we encourage you to reach out to our support department.

Details on performance issue

For the testing above, we followed our testing methodology as outlines in our recent articles. While we did confirm the issue with multiple X299 motherboards and GPUs, the results were consistent so kept the charts above to a single configuration using the Core i9 7940X, GTX 1080 Ti, 128GB of RAM, and a Samsung 960 Pro 1TB storage drive.

For both exporting and rendering previews, we saw roughly a 20% increase in time to completion with ProRes 422 HQ footage and roughly a 35% increase in time with ProRes 4444 footage when upgrading from version 12.0.X to version 12.1.X. Live playback also saw a performance loss, although since our ProRes 422 HQ footage is only 24 FPS the system was still able to play back those test projects without dropping many frames. However, with the ProRes 4444 60 FPS projects - in particular the projects with Lumetri Color or other heavy effects applied - the playback FPS was often cut in half! 

Tags: Premiere Pro, 12.1.0, 12.1.1, ProRes 422, ProRes 4444, Performance

Wow. Thank you for the heads up on this issue. Any idea whether the same problem is present in Premiere when running on macOS?

Posted on 2018-05-13 10:23:27

Normally, keeping up on bugs like this for macOS isn't something we do. However, we just happened to be working on a series of Mac Pro and iMac Pro vs PC articles so we actually know in this case!

Oddly, ProRes is completely fine in macOS , but we saw similar performance drops with RED footage. Really strange that both macOS and Windows have performance issues with the newer version, but with different types of media.

Posted on 2018-05-13 15:02:41

Thank you for all the info! That’s bizarre, but at the same time not surprising. Every Adobe update seems to break something crucial.

Posted on 2018-05-13 22:37:50
Chris Tomberlin

I can confirm similar issues with both a 40 core dual Xeon machine and an AMD Ryzen build. Unreasonably long imports, dropped frames and generally poor performance. For us, the latest version of Premiere is unusable. Sure, new features are great, but solid playback is crucial for editing software.

Posted on 2018-05-14 15:03:36

Is this still an issue in Version 12.1.2 ?

Posted on 2018-08-12 05:23:18